The USA Science and Engineering Festival on April 28 and 29 in Washington, DC brought the excitement of science to people from around the country. EEB and NIMBioS teamed up and presented two booths in the festival. Emily Austin and Jessica Bryant, Classen lab graduate students, taught Science Fest attendees about fungal decomposition of wood using decaying logs in terrariums. Sarah Wood, an undergraduate in the Classen Lab, and Kelly Sturner, education and outreach coordinator in NIMBioS, taught visitors about intra- and inter-specific variation in Solidago plants by having them measure stem and leaf traits. Both booths encouraged observations, data collection and graphical analysis. Many Science Fest attendees were families with elementary or middle school-aged children, but several teachers were there to pick up science project ideas for their classrooms. In all, an estimated 300,000 people left the event having learned at least one thing: science is exciting!
Sarah Wood, undergraduate in the Classen lab, teaches elementary students how to measure plant traits.